March 16, 2007 |
The ice at Mars' south pole contains enough water to cover the planet in an ocean 36 feet deep, scientists said today. Observations by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter determined the ice -- largely covered by dust and rock -- is more than two miles thick in places and is nearly pure water, according to research being published in the journal Science.
February 17, 2007 |
Lasers beamed from space have detected what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes of water underneath Antarctic ice. These lakes, some stretching across hundreds of square miles, fill and drain so dramatically that the movement can be seen by a satellite, glaciologists reported this week in the journal Science. The lakes lie beneath 2,300 feet of compressed snow and ice.
February 10, 2007 |
NASA is investigating problems with two instruments aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the agency announced this week. In November, scientists operating the probe's high-resolution camera noticed an increase in image "noise," such as bad pixels. A problem also developed in an instrument that maps temperature, ice clouds and dust in the atmosphere. Scientists discovered the instrument had a skewed field of view.
February 3, 2007 |
Scientists are scrambling to find an alternative landing site for a long-armed robot set to launch this summer on a mission to dig into Mars' icy north pole. The original landing spot was nixed after images beamed back by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed scores of bus-sized boulders littered over old crater rims on flat plains. The gigantic rocks pose a danger to NASA's Phoenix Mars lander.
January 27, 2007 |
Scientists trying to find out where all the water on Mars went have ruled out one suspect: The sun did not blow it away, new measurements show. They measured ions -- charged particles -- being blown off the planet by the solar wind, itself a stream of charged particles, according to their report published Friday in the journal Science.
December 7, 2006 |
NASA scientists announced Wednesday that they have found evidence that water still flows on the surface of Mars in the form of sporadic gushers that increase the possibility that the Red Planet harbors some form of life. Using images obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, the researchers concluded that changes in the shapes and sizes of gullies cut into the walls of two Martian craters were probably made by flowing water. The team looked at two sets of images taken several years apart.
November 22, 2006 |
After two weeks of futilely searching for the Mars Global Surveyor, NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials said Tuesday that the missing spacecraft was probably lost forever. In its 10-year career, the probe has sent back more than 240,000 images of the red planet, providing the first strong evidence that water flowed there as recently as 100,000 years ago. It also charted weather cycles and mapped landing sites for the two rovers now operating on the Martian surface.
September 30, 2006 |
Twenty-one months after landing on the surface of Mars, NASA's rover Opportunity is poised to look deeper into the Red Planet's watery history than ever before. The rover has reached the crest of 230-foot-deep Victoria Crater, whose exposed rock walls hold secrets of the planet's ancient past, including the time when scientists think shallow pools of water existed on the surface. "This is a geologist's dream come true," said lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University.
September 16, 2006 |
The most powerful spacecraft ever sent to Mars has settled into a nearly circular orbit, a move that allows scientists to begin studying the planet in unprecedented detail, NASA said. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, fired its thrusters for 12 minutes Monday to adjust to its final position, six months after it arrived at the planet. Its altitude ranges between 155 and 196 miles above the surface.
April 15, 2006 |
The Mars rover Spirit, hampered by a broken wheel, has failed to reach its destination and will spend the Martian winter at an alternate site, scientists said Monday. After failing three times to get it to climb McCool Hill, engineers steered Spirit to a closer slope, where it arrived over the weekend, said principal scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University. The new site should provide enough sunlight for Spirit, but the light won't be as strong as it would have been on McCool Hill.